capsule review

V3 Salvo 3D: A Good Deal for Gamers

At a Glance
  • V3 Salvo 3D

    PCWorld Rating

    This inexpensive PC packs a wallop on games, but non-gamers can do better for less.

The name “V3 Salvo 3D” should evoke thoughts of tubes, crazy lights, and an eye-popping price tag—all staple elements of the performance PC category’s gamer-friendly rigs. But V3’s $1199 system (as of 3/19/2012 and as configured) is a bit humbler—a fairly standard PC that delivers a fairly strong showing (for its price) in the gaming arena.

A self-contained Asetek LCLC cooling system helps the Salvo 3D's Core i5-2500K processor reach an overclock of 4.7GHz—a huge bounce from the chip’s 3.3GHz stock clock. The V3 Salvo 3D also takes advantage of Intel's Smart Response Technology, coupling a 32GB solid-state drive and a one-terabyte hard drive, where the SSD serves as a giant, speedy cache to complement the mechanical drive. The V3 Salvo 3D performs admirably on our WorldBench 6 suite of tests with an overall score of 169, but that’s a score that lines up against relatively low-priced performance PC competitors such as iBuyPower’s Gamer Paladin HS11 ($999) and Lenovo’s IdeaCentre K330 ($999).

In other words, what else does V3 bring to the table to make this gaming PC shine for its $200 price bump?

In a word, gaming. Neither iBuyPower’s nor Lenovo’s desktops can hold a candle to the V3 Salvo 3D’s ability to push frame rates. V3’s system delivered an impressive 125.7 frames per second on our Unreal Tournament 3 benchmark (2560 by 1600 resolution, high quality), smacking down the paltry 67 fps of iBuyPower’s rig and the 33.2 (!) fps of Lenovo’s.

The V3 Salvo 3D lacks a Blu-ray drive, unlike Lenovo’s desktop, even though V3’s system supports the standard array of high-definition connection types that one often finds on a performance PC. In total, the system comes with four USB 2.0 ports on the front mixed with six on the rear that are split between four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0. These join ports for HDMI, SPDIF optical, DVI, VGA, integrated 7.1 surround sound, and gigabit networking. The system’s Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics card comes with two DVI ports and an HDMI port of its own.

On the inside, the V3 Salvo 3D is nicely constructed—no errant wires muck up one’s ability to dive in and tinker with the system’s components. Two free 5.25-inch slots and four free 3.5-inch slots await potential upgrades, in addition to the Asus motherboard’s three free PCI slots, one free PCI Express x16 slot, and one free PCI Express x1 slot. However, they all use regular screws instead of thumbscrews or tool-free mounting systems.

Even though our desktop, as reviewed, didn’t ship with a mouse or keyboard, you can choose from a variety of devices to add to your order on V3’s website. While neophytes might want a recommendation as to which mouse or keyboard would best complement their system, this quirk shouldn’t be a hassle for gamers or PC enthusiasts.

The V3 Salvo 3D is a great system for gamers, due to its mix of strong general performance and excellent gaming performance for a reasonable price. If gaming’s not your focus, however, you’ll probably prefer a more inexpensive system that’s every bit as fast as V3’s, but that comes better equipped with features that the V3 lacks, such as Blu-ray support.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This inexpensive PC packs a wallop on games, but non-gamers can do better for less.

    Pros

    • Strong general performance
    • Ample connectivity options
    • Clutter-free interior

    Cons

    • Lacks Blu-ray support
    • Screw-filled upgrading
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